Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Much Further Out Than You Thought, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett
“Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?” says the famous First World War propaganda poster. This contemporary monologue set around modern conflicts answers the question to a soldier’s son with brutal honesty, as Lance Corporal James Randall relives the horrors of Helmand province and casts us as his absent child.
A living room shrouded in sand reflects the past’s invasion of the present, as writer and performer Giles Roberts sits and recounts the atrocities Randall has witnessed and committed that have clearly led to his experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Roberts’ disturbing portrait of a broken man captures the horror of the war on terror with unblinking urgency, sparing us none of the gritty and grizzly details as he describes the difficulties of coming home and attempting to live a civilian life after surviving a war zone.
His performance – all haunted eyes, sunken posture and bitterness – heightens the sense of the waste of war, and cultivates a confessional, touchingly honest relationship with his audience.
Our sympathies sit on a knife-edge, as Roberts’ portrayal alternates between implying that Randall is the perpetrator and the victim of institutional violence.
Underbelly, Cowgate (venue 61), until 30 August, 3:20pm
Published in The Scotsman on 25 August 2015
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